Atwater twins win national FFA titles

Amanda Skidmore won a national FFA team contest involving marketing an agricultural product.
Amanda Skidmore won a national FFA team contest involving marketing an agricultural product. Merced Sun-Star file

Atwater twins Amanda and Andrew Skidmore have yet another achievement in FFA. Each topped a national contest at the group’s convention in Indianapolis.

Andrew placed first in extemporaneous public speaking, and Amanda’s team won a contest involving marketing an agricultural product. Erika Matola and Juan Hernandez are also on the team.

The wins came six months after Andrew was elected state president and Amanda state secretary of FFA, formerly known as Future Farmers of America.

“It was an incredible feeling to see your hard work and dedication pay off – indescribable,” Amanda said by phone Monday from Washington, D.C., where the California delegation traveled after last week’s convention.

It was the third year in a row that FFA members from the Northern San Joaquin Valley won national titles. Hughson member Mark Borges topped the job interview contest last year. He was part of a team that won the poultry judging event in 2014.

FFA chapters, which are closely tied to agriculture classes, compete at the section, region and state levels for a chance at a national title.

The marketing contest involves an actual business, in this case the Hunter Farms Pumpkin Patch in Atwater. The team, coached by Kaylyn Davenport, wrote up a plan for promoting the attraction and did a 15-minute presentation for the judges.

Andrew, coached by Kim Macintosh, had to speak for 4 to 6 minutes on an assigned topic – how to communicate the message of U.S. agriculture to the world.

“It’s a skill I will use all my life,” he said. “There will always be people I need to communicate with.”

The twins graduated from Atwater High School in the spring and are delaying college for a year to serve as state officers. Amanda plans to study agricultural business and marketing at California State University, Fresno. Andrew will head to Iowa State University and major in agricultural engineering and entrepreneurship.

Other teams from the region also did well:

▪  Atwater finished third in dairy product judging. The team is Daryl Dorsey, Julianna Dailey, Christina Aguilar and Jessica Prado.

▪  Oakdale High School was fourth in evaluating various livestock. Team members are Madison Morgan, Ty Jones, Kevin Snyder and Emma Wright.

▪  Hilmar High School placed fourth in dairy cattle evaluation and management. Team members are Brandon Almeida, Noah Batista, Donavan Miguel and Mitchell Coleman.

John Holland: 209-578-2385

Degree recipients

These members received the American FFA Degree award for exceptional service in the organization:

▪  Mark Abdallah, Gustine

▪  Jordan Aguiniga, Pitman

▪  Zharen Alcaide-Terpstra, Gregori

▪  Gabriella Borges, Turlock

▪  Jackson Calbreath, Hughson

▪  Kenneth Carder, Denair

▪  Jessica Colt, Ripon

▪  Cheyenne DeJarnett, Hughson

▪  Audrianna Farmer, Golden Valley

▪  Mary Frost, Turlock

▪  Jeffrey Gaylord, Hughson

▪  Elizabeth Gonzales, Pitman

▪  Emily Hoogendoorn, Ripon

▪  Ryan Kirkpatrick, Ripon

▪  Tony Philip Lopes, Gustine

▪  Garret McManis, Ripon

▪  Evon Meckler, Sonora

▪  Karl Montague, Golden Valley

▪  Makenzie Neves, Turlock

▪  Michael Neves, Turlock

▪  Matthew Oliveira, Turlock

▪  Alli Plata, Lathrop

▪  Alison Ramsey, Bret Harte

▪  Elisabeth Regusci, Gregori

▪  Elise Regusci, Gregori

▪  Lauren Rivera, Oakdale

▪  Megan Rivera, Oakdale

▪  Clayton Sardella, Buhach Colony

▪  Corinne Sherman, Buhach Colony

▪  Austin Silva, Turlock

▪  Kaymen Smith, Mariposa

▪  Makayla Toste, Gustine

▪  Jacob Van Klavern, Gregori

▪  Brooke Van Olden, Johansen

▪  Dominic Vieira, Turlock

▪  Michaela Vindel, Golden Valley

▪  Kristen Voss, Hughson

▪  Megan Yoder, Bret Harte